China has commenced military exercises near Taiwan. According to state media, these exercises are intended as a warning to separatists. Chinese authorities are furious about a recent visit by Taiwanese Vice President William Lai to the United States.
Taiwan says it has observed at least 42 Chinese fighter jets and eight ships. China’s state news agency, Xinhua, reports that these military exercises are assessing China’s armed forces’ capability to fight under real war conditions and take control of the airspace and waters in the area.
China has strongly criticized “troublemaker” Lai, who is running in next year’s Taiwanese presidential elections. He recently visited Paraguay and made stopovers in the United States on his way there and back. During a meeting in New York, the vice president stated that Taiwan will not be intimidated by authoritarian regimes. He emphasized, “We will continue to defend the values of democracy and freedom.”
The US has emphasized that Lai’s US stopovers were of little significance. Washington has called for calm. However, Chinese authorities view the visit as a “provocation” and accused the Taiwanese politician and his party of “colluding” with the Americans. To Beijing’s dismay, the US supplies a significant amount of weapons to the island off the Chinese coast.
The Chinese government regards Taiwan as a renegade province. The island has self-governed since the communist takeover in mainland China and also calls itself the Republic of China. The Chinese government has never ruled out the use of force to annex the island and has attempted to isolate Taiwan on the international stage. As a result, most countries do not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Taiwan had already anticipated new Chinese exercises. China also announced military drills when Democrat Nancy Pelosi visited the island last year. At that time, she was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and one of the country’s most prominent politicians.
About the author: Rick Culpepper
Rick Culpepper is of those journalists who dig the topic to the very bottom. He is often late with the delivery of the piece, but always does it perfectly. In his spare time, he collects data for one of the most high-profile investigations of corruption in the EU.